Pubdate: Mon, 18 Nov 2013
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2013 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Rob Breakenridge
Page: A12


Enough evidence has now accumulated to allow us to conclude that
prosecuting the Marc Emery, the "Prince of Pot," has been a tragic
farce. Emery's arrest, extradition and incarceration were fuelled by
government malice, hypocrisy, indifference and cowardice - everything
but a concern for justice and public safety.

As Ottawa continues to drag its heels on a prison transfer that would
allow Emery to serve out his sentence in Canada, it seems the
government is content to allow this farce to play out until the bitter

Marc's wife Jodie was in Ottawa late last month to press his case and
to seek the support of opposition MPs. She's had some success on the
latter front, as both the Liberal and NDP public safety critics have
expressed support for the prison transfer.

Given that the U.S. government has approved Emery's prison transfer,
it should be merely a formality for the Canadian government to approve
it, too. Wouldn't we expect a favourable response from the U.S.
government if we were seeking to repatriate an incarcerated American?
Yet the closest thing resembling a response from our government was to
accuse the opposition parties of being soft on crime.

Sadly, when we recall the circumstances under which Emery was taken
into custody, shipped off to the United States and ultimately
convicted of selling marijuana seeds, the government's current stance
is very much in keeping with its approach to this file.

What's important to remember is that Ottawa was well aware that Emery
was selling marijuana seeds. In fact, as a declared "marijuana seed
vendor," Emery was paying taxes on his income. Not only were we not
prepared to arrest Emery, we, the public, were profiting from his 

Therefore, whether Emery was breaking U.S. law is irrelevant. If the
actions of a Canadian citizen are a crime here, we should be the ones
to arrest him. If those actions are not a crime under Canadian law, we
have no business shipping him off to face justice elsewhere.

If a Canadian citizen was, for example, distributing child pornography
in both Canada and the United States, we would arrest him and charge
him ourselves. If, however, a Canadian citizen was distributing Bibles
to customers in Canada and Saudi Arabia, we'd never ship him off to
face Saudi justice.

Yet, in 2005, Canadian officials arrested Emery at the request of the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Still, we didn't charge
him; instead, extradition proceedings commenced.

It is worth noting that a news release put out by DEA at the time of
Emery's arrest declared it to be a "major blow to the legalization
movement." One would be hard pressed to identify any political
prisoners in either Canada or the U.S., but Emery comes awfully close.

Originally, the charges Marc Emery was facing carried a sentence of at
least of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of life behind bars.
Eventually, Emery agreed to a plea deal and was sentenced to five years.

And just who are his victims? Even if you subscribe to the belief that
marijuana is worthy of prohibition and consenting adults need
protection from themselves, a seed isn't going to get somebody high.
That's like arresting someone for selling hops and barley to a minor.

To put the sentence in perspective, serial sex offender Michael Sean
Stanley, the subject of a manhunt in Alberta in early October, most
recently received a 32-month sentence - barely half of that handed to
Emery - for the sexual assault and forcible confinement of two young

And where was it that Emery was condemned to this five-year prison

None other than Washington state, which has now legalized the sale of
marijuana. In other words, the horrible "crime" that prompted Canada
and the U.S. to spend millions of dollars arresting, extraditing,
convicting and incarcerating Emery is no longer a crime. Even the man
who prosecuted him recently came out in support of legalizing marijuana.

Yet, despite all of this, Emery remains inmate number 40252-086 at the
Yazoo City Correctional Institute in Mississippi.

There's no undoing the terrible injustice that's been done to Marc
Emery. Given Ottawa's complicity, the mere act of approving a simple
prison transfer would be seem like a grand, compassionate gesture.
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